Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Do Declare

The move down south from Philadelphia has gone quite smoothly. My cat pooped in her carrier about an hour into our eight hour drive, but otherwise the ride down was uneventful.

I made a massive MP3 CD with over eight hours of music for the ride down (my wife owns an iPod, but I refuse to buy anything made by Apple after having to use a Macintosh computer for the first 13 years of my life; you cannot convince me that company is anything but a fetid pile of putrid filth). Most of the music was travel, home, or southern themed. Perhaps I’ll post the playlist at some point

The best part of moving to the south for me is being in range of Steak ’n Shake, which is a chain of diners that hasn’t made it to the Mid-Atlantic/New England Coast. The “steakburgers” they serve are rather lackluster, but their chili is some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s the kind of chili that is the consistency of mud, which is what I became accustomed to growing up in Michigan eating Coney dogs. The milkshakes and malts aren’t bad, either, and they use actual cherry and vanilla syrup to make cherry and vanilla Cokes.

However, Steak ’n Shake isn’t really southern, it’s primarily Midwestern and started in Illinois. The first really southern thing I tried was a soda called Cheerwine. I consider myself somewhat of a soda connoisseur. I’ve tried several, from Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray (celery flavored) to my personal favorite, Vernors (which is a vanilla flavored, 3 year barrel-aged ginger soda, and also happens to be the oldest American carbonated soft drink).

Cheerwine is interesting. It’s a dry cherry soda, with a twist: it’s caffeinated. While it’s not energy-drink levels of caffeine, it has slightly more caffeine per ounce than Coke Blak, which had coffee bean extract added to regular Coke (and is no longer made). At 48 mg per 12 ounce can, you might actually notice a buzz.

We ate at a great pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom. I had a pizza called “The Mighty Meaty,” which has pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, ham, and bacon. I was very happy with the pie, though I’m not much of a pizza snob (unlike people from New York… stuck up pricks and their cardboard garbage circles).

The final thing I initially noticed was on the first night I walked my dog. The cicadas are insane here. I’m used to crickets from living in the Midwest, but this is just nuts.


  1. Where did you move in the south?

  2. My wife is very paranoid about people tracking her down, otherwise I would post my home address online so people could visit or send me junk mail.

    Suffice to say, it's not Texas or Florida, but it is a state that fought on the wrong side of slavery.

  3. Okay, I can understand that. I'm in Mississippi and less than thrilled with it.

  4. it is a state that fought on the wrong side of slavery.

    It wasn't about slavery .

  5. You can toot that horn all day long, but the sole reason the south threw a hissy fit was because Lincoln was going to prevent new states from adopting slavery, which would put the nation on track for ending slavery (as more non-slave states would quickly outnumber the slave states).

    You can pretend all you want that it was about something else, something grander and more noble. It's simply not true.

  6. Thanks for the history lesson, Ulysses S. Grant.

  7. Slavery would have ended peacefully anyway (and without the loss of 600,000 American lives) and besides, states had a right to leave the Union, and Lincoln disregarded that. He also suspended habeas corpus, had opposition newspapers in the North closed, sent troops to New York to suppress (and kill) draft protesters (Lincoln introduced military conscription; still like him, Bret?) sent people in the North to jail for expressing anti-war, anti-Lincoln views and was an all-around fucking tyrant who, if he had been assassinated at the start of the war would have spared us all the nightmares that followed over the past 150 years (if you think that's too radical, a Northern newspaper, the Wisconsin Democrat, said in 1864 "If Abraham Lincoln should be reelected for another term of four years of such wretched administration, we hope that a bold hand will be found to plunge the dagger into the tyrant’s heart for the public welfare."

  8. Your first claim is ridiculous speculation. Also, this isn't about me being in Lincoln's fan club.

    The bottom line: rich slave-holding interests got slave states to secede, and the southern soldiers are such lemmings that they fought and died for these interests.

  9. Let me try to put it another way:

    "The War Of Northern Aggression" was about states' rights if the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are about bringing terrorists to justice.

    In actuality, the Civil War was about rich exploiters of human beings using the patriotism of southern soldiers for their own economic interests, while the wars in the Middle East today are rich exploiters of resources using the patriotism of American soldiers...

    I laugh heartily at your claim that the South would have ended slavery. "The Guns of the South" is not a good source for historical perspective. A decent read, but not realistic.

  10. Again, my point was that the war (certainly from Lincoln's perspective) was not about slavery. Lincoln himself orchestrated an attempt to pass a pro-slavery amendment to the Constitution in 1861.

    In his first inaugural, he even referred to it with these words:

    "I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution . . . has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the states, including that of persons held to service...holding such a provision to be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable."

    The amendment itself read:No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.

  11. I laugh heartily at your claim that the South would have ended slavery

    Yeah, it didn't end peacefully anywhere else, did it?

  12. Slavery still exists... because ending it is not inevitable. It takes government intervention to prevent the natural human behavior of exploiting others, whether the victim is in chains or cubicles.

    You may disagree with me on this, but you will certainly agree that the government is beholden to the economic interests of the nation. Whoever holds the purse strings controls the ballot (which is where real power lies, as choosing between a conservative Democrat and a conservative Republican is the sad state of American politics at the moment).

    The South essentially did the nation a favor by divorcing the government from the interests that wanted slavery. In no other country that abolished slavery was the national economy so heavily based on slavery. The North certainly relied on cheap southern cotton every bit as much as southern states relied on cotton taxes in order to operate.

    Was the war a high point in America? Certainly not. Was Lincoln a tyrant? Possibly. Does this change the fact that the war was begun solely by states that feared their exploitation of Africans would be contained and one day ended? Not one bit.


If your comment is too long, break it into multiple comments and post them all.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...